M163 VADS

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"Who ever said the pen is mightier than the sword has obviously never encounterd automatic weapons."

– Gen. Douglas MacArthur

The M163 VADS (Vulcan Air Defense System) is a Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) developed by the United States Army to deal with low flying aerial threats. The VADS is one of the many vehicles derived from the M113, essentially a 20mm Vulcan rotary cannon, usually used in fighter jets, mounted on an M113 chassis.

Unlike most anti-air vehicles the M163 does not have an integrated targeting system, instead relying on the judgment and skills of its gunner to engage threats. The M164 VADS is equipped with a radar of a system, but it only detects the range to the target, not the speed or direction.

In Team Yankee[edit]

The Stat Card

The M163 VADS is an all American Air defense tank. The only weapon of this little tank is the M168 20mm Vulcan Gatling AA Gun, which is capable of close to 3000 RPM. This means that thing has an absurd ROF, 7 while halted and 4 on the move. This is especially epic as the M163 has the special rule Dedicated AA, meaning that it can fire at its full rate of fire (either 7 or 4 depending on if it has moved) at aircraft, rather than only rolling 1 die. The VADS also has the special rule Radar, meaning that it ignores the +1 penalty for shooting at aircraft. This thing will absolutely shred aircraft within its 20-inch range.

If there are no aircraft around, the M163 VADS is quite decent at dealing with lightly armored vehicles and infantry. The M168 Vulcan has an AT rating of 6 meaning that, say, a BMP (either 1 or 2) will only glance this weapon on a 4+. However the Firepower rating is only 5+, so only a 3rd of your penetrating hits will knock out the tank.

As for defense, the M163 VADS has the standard defense of the M113 chassis, except for the top. The top armor rating is 0 because of the gunner's open-topped turret. Long story short, any airborne weapon system with an AT rating greater than 6 is an auto-pen, so make sure you take down aircraft before they tear you a new one (Which you should have been doing anyway). Artillery's ability to hit the top armor also means that these poor death machines should be hidden from any possible spotters.

You get 2 VADS in a platoon for 3 points and 4 for 6.

IRL[edit]

See that helicopter gunner? I don't want to.

The M163 VADS entered service in 1968 as a stop gap vehicle to supplant the M42 Duster as more advanced air defense platforms could be developed (though not always successfully) and was used by both the Americans and Israelis. The VADS was rarely used for its designed purpose, with the notable exception during Operation Peace for Galilee, where an Israeli VADS shot down a MIG 21. Instead the M163 mostly used to support ground forces, like during Operation Just Cause in Panama where a VADS sank a PDF Patrol Boat.

The M163 VADS was integral to Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Battalions which were attached to Mechanized and Armored Divisions in the 1980s. Each Battalion was made up of 3 Batteries of which two Platoons were equipped with 4 M163s (If you were wondering the 3rd Platoon was made up of Stinger missiles). These batteries would then be attached to the Various battalions of the division to provide local air defense, mostly against helicopters in the VADS case.

US Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: M1 Abrams - M60 Patton - M551 Sheridan
Transports: M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - UH-1 Huey - AAVP7
Troops: US Mech Platoon - Marine Rifle Platoon - Huey Rifle Platoon - HMMWV Machine Gun Platoon
Artillery: M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier - M109 Howitzer - LAV-M
Anti-Aircraft: M163 VADS - M48 Chaparral - M247 Sergeant York - HMMWV SAM
Tank Hunters: M901 ITV - HMMWV-TOW - LAV-AT
Recon: M113 FIST - HMMWV Scout Section - LAV-25
Aircraft: A-10 Warthog - AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter - AV-8 Harrier